Blogging hiatus

Narelle here. I’m taking a break from blogging here to focus on my new author blog and the launch of a new group blog, Australasian Christian Writers, in September. My fiction writing commitments (I have a book deadline every 3 months until September 2014) have limited the time I have available to write Bible studies and Bible study related blog posts.

I will continue posting book recommendations (fiction and non-fiction) on my Narelle Atkins Inspirational Romance Author blog. Today you will find my book recommendation and Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA) book tour post for Captured by Moonlight by Christine Lindsay on my author blog.

http://narelleatkins.wordpress.com

My first Aussie contemporary inspirational (Christian) romance, Falling for the Farmer, will be a  February 2014 release in North America from Harlequin Heartsong Presents.

New Year Resolutions

by Narelle Atkins

It’s that time of year again when we think about what we would like to achieve or do differently in the new year. Some people don’t make new year resolutions because they can be hard to keep or maintain. I prefer to set goals that are both quantifiable and achievable. Each year, at the beginning of January, I set writing goals for the coming year. This year I haven’t made any definite goals because I’m waiting to hear the details of a fiction book contract that could determine the way I set up my 2013 writing schedule.

In 2012 one of my goals was to set up this blog and start eBook publishing leaders guides to complement the free Bible study questions available on our website. The blog was launched in May and we have published five leaders guides in our ‘People of the Old Testament’ series. I am hoping to start publishing our ‘Gospel of Mark’ leaders guides during 2013, although this will depend on how much time I have available around my fiction writing commitments.

Do you make new year resolutions? Have you made any this year that you have successfully met or failed to keep? Or, do you prefer setting goals? My prayer for you is that 2013 will bring you many blessings and opportunities to grow in your faith as you do all things for His glory.

Blog posting schedule

Narelle here. In September we will start featuring our Gospel of Mark Bible studies. There are 45 studies in our Gospel of Mark series and we plan to release 9 eBook Leaders Guides, the first by the end of September. The free Bible study questions for all 45 studies can be found on our website here.

Starting in September we are changing the blog posting schedule to three days a week, Tuesday to Thursday (Australian time). We will occasionally have a Friday Community Day post featuring small Bible study groups from around the world.

Tuesday: Our fiction day on the blog.

Wednesday: A post related to our featured Bible studies (Gospel of Mark).

Thursday: Originally our ‘Australia Day’ on the blog, the posts will now cover a broader range of topics eg. non-fiction and childrens books, guest bloggers, announcements and upcoming events, free eBooks and giveaways, devotional posts.

Community Day – How can you get involved?

Narelle here. Friday is our Community Day on the blog and each Friday we’d like to focus our posts on small groups. Our goal is to feature groups from all around the world. Each group is different and we’d like to know what it is that you love about your group. What makes your group unique and why do you think it’s important to meet together to study the Bible?

We’d love to hear from you and learn more about your group. Please contact us at: community [at] 30minutebiblestudies [dot] com if you’d like more information on how your group could be featured in one of our Community Day posts.

Book Recommendation: The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

Back cover blurb:

Two Hearts. One Hope. Rose has been appointed as a healer’s apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter’s daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill. When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she’s never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose’s life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.

Narelle: I was talking with my friend Karinne the other day and she mentioned she had read this great book. When she purchased the eBook she had no idea it was a Christian book until she was part way through the story. Karinne has very kindly written a book recommendation for us.

Karinne: This is a captivating young adult book based around the faerie tale of Sleeping Beauty. The story follows Rose a woodcutter’s daughter engaged as a healers apprentice and Hamlin the heir to a dukedom. Both characters struggle with their duties and situation in life as well as their relationship with God.

Dickerson will capture you in this tale with the characters sense of duty and situation in society. I found myself being pulled and pushed along with the characters while they discover themselves and the plan that is in place for them. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good faerie tale adaption for teenagers or young adults with romance and dark mysterious characters, and a strong message about faith in God.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample on Amazon.com

Evolution and Christianity

Today we welcome back Dr. Robert Stening to our blog with a follow up to his May 7 post on Creationism.

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by Dr. Robert Stening

It seems that evolution is one area where some Christians have problems in reconciling the science with their faith. The basic problem is again how people should read the early chapters of the biblical book of Genesis. If these are not read literalistically, there should be no problem.

Since Darwin’s time the evidence for evolutionary processes has been mounting. There are still remaining puzzles to be solved, such as the evolution of penguins, but genetic information has significantly contributed to our understandings.

One example of this may be seen in the human chromosome 2. Humans have 23 chromosomes as compared to 24 in chimpanzees and other apes.  In the diagram we see two chimp chromosomes on the left have fused to give the human chromosome 2 on the right. In the human chromosome two centromeres are present instead of the usual one and a pair of telomeres is seen in the middle.  The lines of descent of humans and chimps parted about five million years ago but the chromosome evolution is plain to see.

Source: Wikipedia

It is interesting to note that the doctrine of original sin suggests that we have “inherited” the stain of sin from the original sin of Adam and Eve. Once again the question arises as to how literally we should read the Adam and Eve story. Teihard de Chardin once said ‘on a single perfect being put to the test on only one occasion, the likelihood of the Fall is so slight that one can only regard the Creator as having been extremely unlucky’.

And yet if we are honest we all experience within ourselves a tendency to sin. As Galatians 5:16-17 says: So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so you do not do what you want.

We have these two forces waging war within us – our sinful nature fuelled by Satan and our spiritual nature energised by the Holy Spirit. I suggest that our sinful nature is part of our evolutionary inheritance from earlier creatures in our evolutionary line. Creatures other than humans live by the survival of the fittest with no regard for the consequences for any others. This focus on”self” is a hallmark of our sinful nature.  Our spiritual nature derives from our developing into beings who can have a relationship with our God and so are “in the image of God”.

What about verses like Romans 5:12: Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned. 1 Corinthians 15:22 is another example.

The Bible writers knew nothing of modern science and had to communicate with their audience in terms which they understood.  They understood that, with Adam, sin led to death, as “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Without our acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice for us, this will also be our fate.

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Associate Professor Robert Stening is a Senior Visiting Fellow in the School of Physics at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. He teaches an online course on Science and Religion which is offered as a General Education unit to UNSW students.